HISTORY OF TRINITY BAPTIST CHURCH
While very little history is written about Trinity Baptist Church, that which we possess is a profession of our great Baptist heritage.Trinity Baptist Church has beenin existence for approximately 90 years.
The church had its origins in a religious society around 1924. The basic philosophy of this society was to extend the programs of God through prayer and Christian doctrine. With Rev. Emmett Moore as pastor, the group worshipped four years as an unincorporated body, following the conviction of a free church body. In 1929, this small group of dedicated Christians incorporated according to New York State Law adopted the name of "Trinity Baptist Church."
The period from around 1929 to 1950 was one of radical change and utter turmoil for the church. Very littlehistorical information was recorded and as much as only scattered bits of information is known. However, from what little information wascommunicated, we knowthatthefollowing did transpire: The church moved to 14 difference localities during this period Around 1940, a large split occurred in Trinity. Half of the membership left and formed a new church because of a disagreement with the church policies.
17 different ministers served as pastor of Trinity during the period 1924-1950.
In March of 1950, Rev. J.H. Pratcher was called to Pastor at Trinity Baptist Church. The congregation was at a record low, numbering only seven active members, services were being held in various private homes. The church was almost financially destitute, unorganized and on the verge of collapse.
Under the leadership of Pastor Pratcher, Trinity experienced its first important rebirth. With the increase in membership, a need for larger quarters became necessary. The church soon located anappropriate siteat 1912Maryland Avenue. Because of a shortage of funds, Trinity was notable to immediately begin construction on a new church, therefore, a large canvas tent waspurchased and services were held there. This was in the fallof1950.With the onslaught of winter and because of a larger pattern of growth, it became apparent that a permanent place of worship was essentialIn the spring of 1995, the congregation decided to build a newchurch. Construction began with the erection of a basement on the MarylandAvenue site where worship occurred from 1952-1955. Not too long after the completion of the basement for the new church, the congregation suffered another adversity. The city rezoned the area, therefore, the church could not complete the builIn 1956, Rev. Pratcher, after securing a successful building fund, recommended that the site for a new church be pursued. The search was successful, and in September of the same year the Jewish Temple of the Congregation of Havas Sholem at 309 Tenth Street was purchased. Membership at the time had reached 205.Despite this apparent triumph for the congregation, the membership in the church began to fall off and the church finally lapsed into a period of recession. From June to November of 1958, the church was forced to carry on without a pastor.
In November of 1958, Rev. Glen Raybon was called to pastor at Trinity Baptist Church. At the time of the installation for Pastor Raybon, there were approximately 35 active members left in the congregation. Undaunted by the situation he faced, Pastor Raybon immediately began contacting members who had fallen away from the church. His continued efforts proved fruitful.During the next three years of his ministry many former members returned to the church. The membership surged to an all-time high of 257.
The financial condition of Trinity also brightened during Rev. Raybon's pastorate. The final mortgage payment was paid in August of 1961. To spur the church's building fund, Pastor Glen Raybon instituted the pledge system and later, the tithing program was started. An effective financial program was finally stabilized to success under his leadership.
The church progressed to a point beyond the seating capacity at the 10th Street locale. Facing the overcrowded dilemma and still growing, the church set its sight on the purchase of a new church. In the fall of1964, The Trinity Baptist Church purchased the old St. James Methodist Church at 1366 South Avenue. The new church home offered many advantages for the expanding congregation, now numbering 320members.
The church was purchased for $29,500.00 with a 20years mortgage that was paid off in precisely in 7 years.
The Trinity Baptist Church has been forced against the Social injustices. The Trinity Baptist Church has been involved heavily insocial action programs, such as the Civil Rights movements in the 60's. Trinity was in the forefront in letting its facilities being used in the successful Boycott of the W.T. Grant store in the city of Niagara Falls. At that time Otis Cowart was President of the Congress of Racial Equality, better known as C.O.R.E., Robert E. Porter was Vice President and Pastor Raybon was Chairman of the Advisory Board.Trinity Baptist was represented at the March on Washington in 1964. Pastor Raybon and congregation has been the forefront in breaking down racial barriers in securing jobs.
In 2014 Pastor Glen Raybon retired as Pastor of Trinity Baptist Church with 56 years of dedicated service.
In July 2015, Rev. Dr. Jimmie Hardaway Jr. was called to pastor the Trinity Baptist Church. He was installed as Pastor on Oct. 9, 2015. We were also blessed to have his wife, Rev. Karen M. Anderson Hardaway as Leading Lady (First Lady).
Pastor Hardaway has instituted many new programs. Under his leadership a handicap lift has been installed, security cameras, air conditioners, revival services have been reestablished, necessary maintenance has been done to the exterior including the chimney, roof and stairs, the computer system has been updated and he continues to represent Trinity not only in Niagara Falls but Western New York as well. He is a Pastor that moves by the Spirit of God.
His wife, Rev. Karen Hardaway stands consistently by Pastor Hardaway's side, assisting, and enhancing the ministry. She is often called upon by the members as well as outsiders for prayer and assistance. She also represents our church well in the community.
It is indeed a measure of strength and faith that Trinity Baptist Church has survived the abyss of moral decay that has taken place over the past years. The church has upheld the faith of their fathers, however the question must be asked and answered, "With all that God has given us in the past years, all the wonderful blessings, what shall we do for Him now?"